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Building your own Bitcoin miner – Part 1

Saturday 20th, July 2013 / 12:08
Building your own Bitcoin miner – Part 1

With the hype of Butterfly Labs producing an ASIC miner, BTC World News joined the frenzy and pre-ordered the infamous 5 GH Jalapeno back in February this year. And like most others, we were frothing at the idea of making a few BTC by simply mining Bitcoin’s. We knew that the 5 GH unit wouldn’t enable us to retire and shower in limitless wealth, but we knew it would at the very least, help us with the operational costs of BTC World News.

 

Where in turn and like many thousands of patrons out there, we remain on a waiting list, that seems no have no end, nor any beginning. So at BTC World News, we took another approach at entering the mining game and recently found a Raspberry PI Bitcoin miner which uses USB ASIC chips from Block Erupter. This began our journey into building our own Bitcoin miner.

block erupterFor one, we were extremely pleased that we were able to purchase these ASIC chips from a Canadian company, WTCR.ca and within a few days, received our order of slightly over 1GH of ASIC chips in the mail. In the interim, we found the specs for building a cost effective miner from Adafruit.com which provided step by step instructions for building our own Bitcoin miner.

With the chips in hand we set out on our mission to build our own miner. To accomplish this task, it did require a bit of knowledge and tools to complete the miner which included an LCD screen assembly which rides on top of the Raspberry PI. The idea behind this was to be conservative on electricity usage because running a monitor full time can add up in kilowatts, thus take away from our Bitcoin mining profit. Additionally using the Raspberry PI for this project is ideal because it uses very little electricity which results in a win win situation.

We started with the LCD assembly, which consisted of a circuit board, a few buttons and resistors. With our trusty soldering iron in hand and after about an hour of soldering the parts together we get our first glimpse at a completed LCD ready to mount on the Raspberry PI.

 

adafruit lcdlcdlcd mounted

 

We’re ready now to put both parts together.

raspberry pi and lcd

In our next post we’ll show the start up and configuration of our Raspberry PI Bitcoin miner.

In the mean time, if you want to get a jump on seeing the next part of this post, follow us on twitter @BTCWorldNews. We’re also putting some action shots on our Facebook page, so like us today at facebook.com/BTCWorldNews

We also mentioned above that our goal with this project is to offer you a glimpse of building your own Bitcoin miner. To date, the task of building this mining rig has been fairly simply thanks to the instructions listed on Adafruit. And if your contemplating running out and buying the parts like we did, consider this up front.

  • Are you buying in to mine Bitcoin for profit or enjoy it as a neat project?
  • If you start today, will you receive a return on your investment?

The answer to both these questions are Yes and No. If you plan to mine for profit, we’ve invested right at about 3.5-4 BTC at today’s current rate and have invested about 10 hours in time total. Though if you consider what the cost is to enjoy the excitement of mining your own Bitcoin’s, than this is the project for you because in today’s standards, it’s not difficult to spend 3-4 BTC on a good night out. At least here, you’ll receive every day enjoyment from seeing your efforts continue to produce Bitcoins, that is, at least for now.

The bottom line is, with the difficulty rate rising so quickly due to the enormous mining rigs coming on line, simple projects like this as well the Jalapeno from Butteryfly Labs we purchased will soon have little or no impact on generating new Bitcoin’s and for that reason, the opportunity to make Bitcoin’s is greatly reduced. At least today, we’ll be able to capture a few Bitcoins before these devices equal the original power of a CPU miner and ultimately end up as a somewhat pricey door stop and/or conversation piece, but we’re enjoying the adventure as it was intended for.

We’ll be back soon with Part 2 of our mining adventure so stay tuned.

(Have you donated to BTC World News, you can help us bring you the news by clicking the Donate button, any amount of BTC is greatly appreciated)

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